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Articles Main Idea And Detail In Literary Text

Determining the central idea in a piece of writing is a basic reading skill. Finding and understanding the central idea is an essential skill that demonstrates that the child comprehends that text. This reading comprehension skill will benefit them not only in school. The ability to sift through a text and identify its central idea is as much a crucial life skill as a necessary literacy-based learning objective. The central idea is usually emphasized by additional details which support the premise of the central idea. These are known as supporting ideas.

articles main idea and detail in literary text

The difference mostly comes down to length. Both a central idea and a summary filter out the unimportant details and leave the main point the author is trying to express. However, the central idea is more concise. It can sometimes fit into one sentence. A summary provides more details and takes several sentences or even a paragraph, depending on what is being summarized.

A central idea must not be interchanged with a theme, as these are different concepts. A theme, found in a fictional text (novels, short stories, poetry), is the underlying message that goes beyond what the text is about. It is the moral or lesson learned through the characters in the text. Many students have difficulty distinguishing the difference between a central idea and a theme. One reason students have a hard time separating the two is that the length of a theme is also short.

Skimming can present problems if not done intentionally. Skimming is not simply flipping through a text quickly or paying half attention to it. When skimming, be deliberate and intentional with what you choose to read, and make sure that you are focused. Skimming is not a lazy way out or a half-hearted attempt at reading. Make sure that you use it carefully and strategically and are able to walk away with the main ideas of the text.

There are certain texts that lend themselves to skimming better than others. It is typically less beneficial to skim novels, poetry, and short stories or texts that do not have text features such as such as tables of content, chapter or section summaries, headings, bold words, pictures, and diagrams. Non-fiction texts, like textbooks, journal articles, and essays are typically full of these kinds of text features and are more suited for skimming.

Finally, know your context. There may be some texts that you are better off reading closely and thoroughly. Some professors specifically tell you that they include small details from the textbook on exams. You may have some classes that are just difficult to understand, and you may find that reading closely helps you comprehend concepts better. Before skimming, spend some time thinking about your classes, professors, and needs to determine if you have any texts you may need to read more closely.

Preview. Look through the text before started to read and focus on headings, illustrations, captions, highlighted items, end of chapter summaries, etc. These features give you an idea of the main concepts of the text and what you should focus on while skimming.

Text structure refers to how the information within a written text is organized. This strategy helps students understand that a text might present a main idea and details; a cause and then its effects; and/or different views of a topic. Teaching students to recognize common text structures can help students monitor their comprehension.

When reading, identifying the main idea of a text helps us better understand the point an author is trying to make. The main idea of a text is usually supported by details and facts which expand on the main topic. Identifying these features of a passage can help students improve their reading comprehension.

Part of the problem of trying to find one main idea of a text is that it may communicate many facts and ideas. So how can we differentiate the main point of a text from the details included to support the main idea?

Recognize that supporting details in a text are typically more specific than the main idea of a text. A supporting detail is meant to provide evidence for a broader idea. If you ask yourself what a passage is mostly about, you will typically find that any supporting details given are too narrow to answer that question. Supporting details can come in many forms such as:

The line between the main idea of a passage and the supporting details included within it can sometimes be blurry. But by actively reading, summarizing, and asking questions of the text as we read it, we can do a better job of identifying the most important points being made in the passage to improve the speed and quality of our reading comprehension.

Understanding the topic, the gist, or the larger conceptual framework of a textbook chapter, an article, a paragraph, a sentence or a passage is a sophisticated reading task. Being able to draw conclusions, evaluate, and critically interpret articles or chapters is important for overall comprehension in college reading. Textbook chapters, articles, paragraphs, sentences, or passages all have topics and main ideas. The topic is the broad, general theme or message. It is what some call the subject. The main idea is the "key concept" being expressed. Details, major and minor, support the main idea by telling how, what, when, where, why, how much, or how many. Locating the topic, main idea, and supporting details helps you understand the point(s) the writer is attempting to express. Identifying the relationship between these will increase your comprehension.

When authors write they have an idea in mind that they are trying to get across. This is especially true as authors compose paragraphs. An author organizes each paragraph's main idea and supporting details in support of the topic or central theme, and each paragraph supports the paragraph preceding it.

The bulk of an expository paragraph is made up of supporting sentences (major and minor details), which help to explain or prove the main idea. These sentences present facts, reasons, examples, definitions, comparison, contrasts, and other pertinent details. They are most important because they sell the main idea.

Writing a summary does not involve critiquing or evaluating the source. You should simply provide an accurate account of the most important information and ideas (without copying any text from the original).

Literary analysis means closely studying a text, interpreting its meanings, and exploring why the author made certain choices. It can be applied to novels, short stories, plays, poems, or any other form of literary writing.

A literary analysis essay is not a rhetorical analysis, nor is it just a summary of the plot or a book review. Instead, it is a type of argumentative essay where you need to analyze elements such as the language, perspective, and structure of the text, and explain how the author uses literary devices to create effects and convey ideas.

  • Table of contentsStep 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices

  • Step 2: Coming up with a thesis

  • Step 3: Writing a title and introduction

  • Step 4: Writing the body of the essay

  • Step 5: Writing a conclusion

A typical structure for an introduction is to begin with a general statement about the text and author, using this to lead into your thesis statement. You might refer to a commonly held idea about the text and show how your thesis will contradict it, or zoom in on a particular device you intend to focus on.

The main idea tells the reader what the paragraph, article, or other section of a text is going to be about. Often the main idea is explicitly provided in a declarative statement, which is a statement of fact ending in a period:

While finding the main idea of a text is typically associated with informational, nonfiction texts, there are associated concepts for argumentative texts and fictional texts. When reading an argumentative text, you might be looking for the main argument. For a fictional text, you might be looking for a theme.

The process for finding the main idea, the main argument, or theme of a text is roughly the same. You have to pay attention to what a majority of details in a paragraph or the majority of paragraphs in an article are about. Sometimes, this is given explicitly.

Whether the main idea is implicit or explicit, expect to see questions about main ideas when it comes to reading informational texts in school. These questions are asking you to look for what the majority of details in the paragraph or section of text are all about.

Many students make the mistake of confusing summary with analysis. They are not the same thing. An analysis is a discussion of ideas, techniques, and/or meaning in a text. A summary, on the other hand, does not require you to critique or respond to the ideas in a text. When you analyze a piece of writing, you generally summarize the contents briefly in order to establish for the reader the ideas that your essay will then go on to analyze, but a summary is not a substitute for the analysis itself.

It is important to remember that a summary is not an outline or synopsis of the points that the author makes in the order that the author gives them. Instead, a summary is a distillation of the ideas or argument of the text. It is a reconstruction of the major point or points of development of a text, beginning with the thesis or main idea, followed by the points or details that support or elaborate on that idea.

If a text is organized in a linear fashion, you may be able to write a summary simply by paraphrasing the major points from the beginning of the text to the end. However, you should not assume that this will always be the case. Not all writers use such a straightforward structure. They may not state the thesis or main idea immediately at the beginning, but rather build up to it slowly, and they may introduce a point of development in one place and then return to it later in the text.